An update to European glove Standards marks industry improvement @ArcoSafety

Following an update in February 2017 to BS EN ISO 374:2003, the European standard for protective gloves against dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms, the UK’s leading safety expert, Arco, has created a free expert guide which provides a summary of the changes, available for customers to download online.

The most significant changes to the revised EN374 series of standards relate to the terminology and performance requirements for chemical risks, specifically a new classification system. Moving forward, gloves will be classified as Type A, Type B or Type C, depending on their chemical permeation performance.
The update also states that the ‘low chemical’ beaker icon will no longer be used and a further six test chemicals have been added, increasing the number of test chemicals from 12 to 18.

Arco has created a series of expert guides to ensure all customers are kept up to date with new legislation. The EN 374 summary guide details all changes made to the standard including:
The modifications to the testing methods used to determine the resistance to permeation by chemicals.

The introduction of a new test to determine the resistance to degradation by chemicals, which helps measure the effect of chemical exposure over time.

Although Arco believes the updates to the standard are a positive step to improving health and safety, UK BSI Gloves committee members are of the opinion that the new markings may be misleading and confusing for customers. According to Arco, the current standards do not offer sufficient differentiation from gloves that are classified as Type C, compared to those that are classified as Type A or B due to the same iconography being used. The safety experts suggest that the addition of the phrase ‘Low Chemical’ next to the chemical code letter for type C gloves could help users differentiate the protection levels.

Neil Hewitt, Divisional Director of Quality and Technical Standards, commented: “The new classification system is definitely a step in the right direction, however, we felt more needed to be done to reduce the chance of user confusion, which is why the additional comments were voiced.

“Similarly when the update to EN 388 was published back in 2016, following the suggestions made by the BSI committee regarding the possibility of the new markings causing confusion, the updated British Standards now include additional national annexes recognising these comments, which is extremely positive to hear.”

For more information or to download the free expert guide, visit

%d bloggers like this: